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“Distribution margin is the biggest challenge of our business”: Sushil Khaitan

In an exclusive conversation with Sushil Khaitan, CEO & Director, Purenutrition.me sheds light on the growth strategy of the company.

Tags: Purenutrition.me, fitness, health, nutrition

BY Shipra Srivastava  |  January 14, 2019  |  comments ( 0 )  | 
“Distribution margin is the biggest challenge of our business”: Sushil Khaitan
Sushil Khaitan

How did Pure nutrition start? Kindly shed light on beginning and journey so far? 

Pure Nutrition started out because of the common vision Luke Coutinho and I shared about revolutionizing India’s perspective on wellness, by making good quality products that are inspired by ancient Indian medicine and backed by modern scientific methods of testing and trial. Currently, we have over 70 SKUs spanning across vitamins, supplements, proteins, functional foods, artisan tea and cold pressed oils.

Kindly present your views on the retail market of sports nutrition in India? What are the factors propelling growth in this segment? 

Sports nutrition is seeing a great uptake in the country - and our growing range of products within this segment is a testimony to that. As a category, it signifies the consumption of protein powders, anti-inflammation supplements and supplements that promote rapid muscle recovery among others. As consumers are getting aware about health and nutrition, the market size for supplements have increased two-fold. If I had to pin down a few factors that are responsible for higher penetration of the products in the market, they would be, growing health consciousness, rise of disposable income and the direct proportionality of self-esteem to the physical appearance of a person.

Kindly shed light on your current distribution. Do you have physical stores or plan to have? 

From a distribution point of view, apart from our own website, we have built a very strong network of physical pharmacies and wellness stores as well as online marketplaces. We also have our own stores in multiple locations in the country and the expansion plans continue.

What are the major consumption trends as far as sports nutrition is concerned?

Sports nutrition is seeing a great uptake in the country - and our growing range of products within this segment is a testimony to that. As a category, it signifies the consumption of protein powders, anti-inflammation supplements and supplements that promote rapid muscle recovery among others. As consumers are getting aware about health and nutrition, the market size for supplements have increased two-fold. If I had to pin down a few factors that are responsible for higher penetration of the products in the market, they would be, growing health consciousness, rise of disposable income and the direct proportionality of self-esteem to the physical appearance of a person.

What are the major retail challenges as far as artificial nutrition is concerned? 

The main challenge we face is the distribution margin. Buyers are demanding margins that are way above market average. This reduces profits significantly. Another serious problem is the rise of severe and unhealthy competition in the market. New brands are frequently being launched; these brands focus on keeping their manufacturing costs as well as sell prices low. To do this, they compromise on the quality of their products and market low quality formulations that have reduced bioavailability. What’s worse is that they indulge in questionable practices including marketing synthetic products as natural products. Their unscrupulous practicesallow these new players to offer buyers much higher margins than the norms in the market which leads to unhealthy competition.

Who do you see as your biggest competition within the same space? 

I am a strong believer of competition being the biggest motivation force to a business. Even today, when I see a new company spring up in this sector, I feel happy because I am even more driven to make a dent in the consumer market. In an ideal world, it would be a level playing field when all our contemporaries were working on superior formulations and enhanced bioavailability. Unfortunately, plenty of players today create counterfeit products just to stay competitive from a price point of view.

Is your start-up backed by VC? if yes, kindly provide the details? 

We are a self-funded start up.

What are the major logistics challenges in your category? Also, what is your return policy? 

From a logistics point of view, we see our FMCG range witnessing a few challenges as far as the shelf life of the products is concerned - primarily because our formulations leave very little room for the addition of preservatives. Our return policy is case by case basis - in the rare case when the consumer is not satisfied by the quality/efficacy of the product, we ensure that we are taking all the necessary corrective measures to give him his money's worth or provide a refund.

Kindly shed light on your bestselling categories and price points. Also, mention your starting and exiting price point?

All our formulations are designed to cater to different conditions/nutrition requirements of the human body. If we go by the numbers, dietary supplements have seen a great uptake owing to the steady rise of nutrition deficiencies among the working population. Our raw, organic, cold-pressed coconut oil is another hot seller. We are also seeing a great uptake of our range of functional foods - because of the abundant market demand for products rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin D etc. We listen in to the market very closely and build products that will help solve the problem of multiple nutrition deficiencies arising out of lifestyle choices.

At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?

There is huge potential and so far, we have only tapped into a small segment. We have seen a great uptake over the last 12 months. We are opening stores this year at premium locations within metropolitan cities. We are also keen to expand our physical presence and launch franchise options pan India so that the products are also accessible from an offline point of view for the end consumer. From the product range expansion side, we plan on launching our own range of whey protein-rich FMCG consumables that include on-the-go snack bars, jams, cookies etc.

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